Opp man pleads guilty to two counts of sodomy
Published 9:27 am Monday, July 31, 2023
Stanley Henry “Hank” Hatcher, 42, of Opp pled guilty last Thursday to two counts of first degree sodomy before Circuit Judge Lex Short. He was sentenced to 25 years in prison.
The investigation into Hatcher began when Opp Police Department received a complaint of possible sexual abuse of a child under 12 in October 2022. That investigation included interviews with multiple children and a thorough interview with Hatcher. Through those interviews, investigators learned that Hatcher had performed oral sex on a 10-year-old child on two separate occasions. Hatcher admitted his conduct to police in a recorded interview.
Assistant District Attorney Nikki Stephens prosecuted the case for the state.
“One of the saddest things about this case was that, after Hatcher’s arrest, I had multiple former victims reach out to me from different jurisdictions about the abuses Hatcher committed against them. ‘He molested me and my brother’ and ‘he touched my daughter’ were all sentiments delivered by prior victims,” Stephens said.
District Attorney Walt Merrell praised the team of people that worked the case and their efforts.
“The hard part is knowing we can never truly make these child victims whole again, but we can make sure they know they’re protected from people like Hatcher in the future. And, that there are so many people willing to go the distance to hear them out, and seek justice on their behalf,” Merrell said.
Stephens expressed her thanks to investigators at the Opp Police Department, and particularly Lt. Ian McCulloch, to the Department of Human Resources, and the Covington County Child Advocacy Center staff. “Most of all, though, I want to thank my 10-year-old victim for her bravery in coming forward and sharing her story. She has been interviewed, testified before a grand jury, and never wavered. I hope all victims, children and adults alike, see her courage and find their strength to come forward as well,” Stephens commented.
Because of the age of the child victim, Hatcher will not be eligible for probation or parole, and cannot earn “good time,” so he will, by law, serve 25 actual years in prison. He will be required to register as a sex offender for life.